Standing Ready: The Prosthetic Progression


The Standing Ready podcast elevates and highlights the significant contributions (past, present, and future) of the nation’s largest health care system through a historical lens by conducting interviews with VHA innovators and pioneers.

Join us in our first full-length episode, “The Prosthetic Progression,” where we examine and discuss the history and future of prosthetic devices, and reveal how the Civil War created an unprecedented number of Veterans with amputated limbs.

Fred Downs at the 85th Evac hospital in Vietnam several weeks after being wounded.

Hear the history of how many of the Veterans entered the new National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, VA’s original ancestor, or how a growing number of amputees after WWII led VA to create a division in prosthetics, orthotics and sensory devices.

Producer Shawn Spitler joins historian and host Katie Delacenserie for the story of Fred Downs, Jr. Downs, a Vietnam War amputee. Downs served as a combat platoon leader in the Vietnam War and went on to serve 38 years in VA as director of the Prosthetic and Sensory Aid Services.

Commitment to support Veterans

Our second interview with Dr. Glenn Klute explores how VA’s commitment to supporting Veterans continues today. Klute is a research career scientist with the Center for Limb Loss and MoBility and an affiliate professor, UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. He discusses the active research he is involved with on lower limb prosthetics for Veterans.

Katie Delacenserie serves as the historian for the Veterans Health Administration.


VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at

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